Q. Mr. Mahadevan, last we spoke was more than 2 years ago and the world has changed a lot in these two years. How has been the journey of IMA in these troublesome years?

A.We have been having an organic growth as far as our business is concerned. The epidemic, though did not pose any challenges to the demand side of the business, has of course posed supply side challenges. The year 2020-2021 has been unprecedented and so were the challenges that came along with it. However, the entire IMA ecosystem of employees, customers, vendors, service providers came together to demonstrate resilience, motivation and belief.

This makes me immensely proud of what we have managed to achieve. We have had lots of learning during the past year and we have also aligned our forces towards the future. We are working hard, like never before, and are still growing.

Q. You have a long association with Indian pharmaceutical industry. What has been your role and contribution in the growth of the industry in all these years?

A. Yes very much, for the past 57 years we have been serving Indian customers. Initially for 40 years as Precision Gears Limited (PG) and since 2010, when we became a subsidiary of IMA and were named IMA-PG, we have been working on upgrading ourselves and our esteemed customers with latest technologies.

We started off with oral dosage products, later ventured into cartoning machines and then into packing of injectable, filling of tubes, case packing, end of line solutions, pre filled syringes assemblies etc. in line with the needs of market. We have been constantly upgrading and evolving to meet the expectations of the customers year by year.

IMA-PG now proudly has over 3500 installations all across the globe. We being the pioneers have always been thinking ahead on the customer needs. Of late IMA-PG has graduated itself as a solution provider by providing end to end solutions under one roof and this is what we feel is the major contributor to our healthy presence in the market. We feel proud that the very first machine we produced 40 years ago is still working.

Q. Experts say that pharma industry must think seriously on agile way of working, and it is now or never. What are your comments on this, and what is the level of preparedness at your end?

A. Industries across the globe are evolving on their way to fight obsolescence. The whole gambit of this change is focussed on improving the way organisations do their core activities of manufacturing, packaging, marketing etc. Pharmaceutical industry is no exception to this change which is creative in nature. Pharmaceutical industry has to adopt more and more of automation to make themselves competitive in global markets and also to adhere to regulatory requirements. Also they have to come up with eco friendly materials, new ways of drug deliveries, and adopt smart technologies to be ahead of others. We are fully equipped to support pharma industry in this new way to operate by merging digital technologies with the machines that we do.

We started off with oral dosage products, later ventured into cartoning machines and then into packing of injectable, filling of tubes, case packing, end of line solutions, pre filled syringes assemblies etc. in line with the needs of market. We have been constantly upgrading and evolving to meet the expectations of the customers year by year.

IMA-PG now proudly has over 3500 installations all across the globe. We being the pioneers have always been thinking ahead on the customer needs. Of late IMA-PG has graduated itself as a solution provider by providing end to end solutions under one roof and this is what we feel is the major contributor to our healthy presence in the market. We feel proud that the very first machine we produced 40 years ago is still working.

Q. Automation and cutting-edge technology like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have bigger role to play in pharma industry now. What is the progress on this front at IMA-PG?

A. Artificial Intelligence offers the promise to end boring, repetitive jobs, enabling us to engage in higher level and more fulfilling tasks. I am sure AI will unlock human potential and let us focus on the most interesting, most creative, and most generative things.

AI, Humans and Robots collaboratively can create a perfect symphony and can make life for humankind better.

IMA-PG has been working on a digital program to bring in changes in product offerings, augmenting existing machines to work collaboratively with Cobots and human operators. The advantages to customers will be predictive maintenance, more and more OEE for packing lines and ease of operation. We have our machines ready with these features.

Q. Do you have new products in the pipeline for launch?

A. We always have a few new products in the pipeline and the only thing I can say with confidence now is that our new launch scheduled for last quarter in this year will be a game changer in industry.

See, we start with our mission of coming out with innovative packaging solutions for our customer needs. Now we have been observing world market very keenly and have been working on the new and new challenges being faced by our esteemed customers. We have been launching a new product line almost every year. A few of these are through technology transfer from IMA Italy, while the rest are developed by our own development team.

Also I feel proud in saying that we have always been ahead in the market in bringing out latest innovative products. We launched new technology in tablet counting lines in 2013 in India and it became talk of the town in less than 2 years. We have 120+ machines in tablet counting portfolio installed already.

We launched a case packer in 2012 and market responded very fast. Now we already have more than 120 + successful installation across country.

We will keep on our efforts to bring in new technologies with the intent of improving the levels of efficiency of Indian pharma companies.

Q. What are the expansion plans for IMA-PG in India for the next 2-3 years?

A. We have been a growing organisation in India and having said that, this growth also needs an augmentation in our capacities.

Currently we are looking at the ways to increase our factory space and are working on a few available options. Living close to customers have been a mantra for IMA-PG since the beginning. We are also working on expanding our branch offices and their operations to enable us to be close to end users. We have been continuously investing in latest machine tools to improve our efficiency and turnaround time and will continue to do so.

Also I feel proud in saying that we have always been ahead in the market in bringing out latest innovative products. We launched new technology in tablet counting lines in 2013 in India and it became talk of the town in less than 2 years. We have 120+ machines in tablet counting portfolio installed already.

We launched a case packer in 2012 and market responded very fast. Now we already have more than 120 + successful installation across country.

We will keep on our efforts to bring in new technologies with the intent of improving the levels of efficiency of Indian pharma companies.

Q. Workplaces are changing and leading an organization is not easy. What people challenges are you facing?

A. No one can build a great company alone. To create the right mix of talent, we are increasingly receptive towards a strategic and flexible staffing model designed for the digital age.

Skill upgradation of existing employees has always been most important element of our people strategy.

We also believe that the people strategy cannot exist in isolation of business goals. We have a very well drafted, simple and clear strategy road map with respect to our people policy with a clear alignment to business strategy and results. Our interventions generally fall in the areas of people capability building, operational excellence, energizing the culture and enhancing people experience. All of them are directed towards specific business outcomes. For example, under our capability building vertical, we proactively train our people and encourage them to learn even cross functionally.

Q. What are the key values that you deliver to enhance the customer experience of owning an IMA equipment?

A. The biggest strength that we have today is our wide portfolio of machines. Everyone knows that the basket of products with us is the widest in industry.

Building big fully automatic lines not only need great infrastructure but also superior engineering capability.

You talk of pre filled syringe lines and we have capability to supply a line right from assembly to packaging which very few in industry have. You talk of a blister packing line and we can deliver a high speed line from blister to cartoner to bundler to case packer. We have the right mix of capability and technical skill to build, test and delivery big lines. We are unique in that sense not only in India but also globally, and rank amongst only a few suppliers with similar strengths.

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An exhaustive coverage of the world leader in the design and manufacture of automatic machines for the processing and packaging of pharmaceutical products. Wide portfolio of machines and the ability to offer tailor-made solutions to satisfy the most sophisticated requests in the market are the biggest strengths of IMA.

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